“Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter whom you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.” Charles Cook
Children and Nature go together like Bread & butter and Peanut butter, don’t they? I was one of those kids who loved everything including Chocolates, Ice-cream, chikkis, etc…
I would be fascinated for hours watching armies of ants moving bread crumbs or sugar from one ant hill to another. I would be still watching marching of centipede and millipede, I would be wondering why and how the birds are able to find and eat cherries and fruits before they were fully ripe.
The rhythmic distinct, call of cuckoo’s, chirping of sparrows, cawing of crows, and colorful birds in the tranquil early morning. Returning to one of my favorite childhood haunts are dragon-fly and bumbled bee.
Most adorable and significant about the butterflies and its relationship with children, I recollect an ancient very interesting story “The story goes that children were taken care of by animals soon after their birth. The animals gave them food, warmth and companionship. The larger animals kept a watch, guarded and protected the children from cruel animals. The smaller animals amused the children, made them laugh and happy. The children loved the company of animals and imitated them. They moved around crawling on their fours, the way animals did. Nanabush, the God of the tribe watched the little children laugh, roll and tumble. He wanted the children to realize that they were Anishnabe tribe, and it was time they gave up imitating animals and grow as humans. First they had to get up and walk. So, Nanabush scooped up a handful of small pebbles and through them in the air. Each pebble turned into a butterfly. The children looked up at the fluttering colorful insects. They stood up on their legs and tried to catch the butterflies with their hands. They began to run after the butterflies, while the butterflies made them happy and grow. “
There was a creek that still ran relatively wild through our rural/suburban home in village. My Grandfather would take me creek walking nestled with the clear stream water flow and naturalized gardens and point out all the different plants, ferns, mosses, flowers, berries and trees, Plants like touch me not, Flowers like Marigold, Hibiscus, Berberis, Azalea, Pansy, Sampangee, etc and trees like Banyan, Neem, Peepal, Almond etc bugs, newts, polliwogs, etc. by name, and cupped daddy long legs spiders in his hands so I could get a better look, and learn to not be afraid and he would drop me in a well and ask me to learn swimming.
My Grandmother would prepare good delicious and fresh food from available greens and farms, her chutney’s and pickles are luscious and raw mangoes dishes would be awesome with rich aroma.
As kids we used to enjoy playing outdoor games like treasure hunt, hide and seek, cricket, seven stones, spinning top, kite flying etc indoor games like pallanguli, carrom, chess etc …
I can remember one vacation with my family by the seashore when I was very young, when my Father showed me how to dig for clams, and build sand hills and my mother helped me in collecting colorful seashells and conches and also taught me, to be protective with sea waters and waves, all these memories have left pounding warm impression about my childhood.
I also remember playing with my sisters and friends, soiling my dress, also creating troublesome over my neighborhood, spending time with my favorite books, music, toys and achievements during my early days and a lot other incidents and Incredible parents and grandparents, which has played a vital role in every aspect of my life and it really carried the same emotional weight.
Play is a pivotal part of a child’s life. Outdoor play fosters opportunities for creativity, imagination, social connections, and learned behaviors. Outdoor play has a positive effect on children’s social development, motor skill development, attention, and activity level. It also can provide children with experiences in naturalistic landscapes which could impact their morals, values and actions.
I was in awe of nature’s mysteries; we know that contact with nature is a source of wonder and inspiration for children, and essential to their healthy development and sense of spirituality. In fact, research studies show that nature increases youth creativity, reduces stress, and helps kids who suffer from attention-deficit disorder. A 2005 study by the American Institutes for Research found that kids who learn in outdoor classrooms improve their science scores by 27 percent. Not only is outdoor education critical for child development, it’s important for the future of the planet.
“For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.” Janine M. Benyus